Explore this historic line as it meanders through the beautiful scenery of Wiltshire, bound for Westbury and its iconic White Horse.
Start your journey at Swindon, with its modern town centre and historic railway works (now open as the Steam museum). The line runs along the route of the Wilts & Berks canal, through lovely countryside in the valley of the Bristol Avon and through lush field of the Wylye Valley down to the historic city of Salisbury.
Learn about railway heritage at the Steam Museum
Beautiful views out of the window
Explore the impressive Salisbury Cathedral
Find out more
All stations have car parks (except Dilton Marsh). Melksham Station has a free car park on Station Approach, in the junction of the trunk roads to Chippenham (A350) and Bath (A365). All other Stations have paid car parking available. Note that Westbury and Salisbury Station car parks tend to fill early in the day on Mondays to Fridays. By air: We recommend Southampton Airport, with a direct train service to Salisbury.
Rail connections are available at Swindon from the main London to South Wales line, at Chippenham from the main London to Bath and Bristol Line, at Westbury from the main London (Paddington) to West of England line, and at Salisbury from the London (Waterloo) to Exeter line. Connections also available to TransWilts services at Westbury and Trowbridge from the Portsmouth and Southampton to Bath, Bristol, Newport and Cardiff "Wessex Main Line".
BY LONG-DISTANCE COACH:
Regular National Express routes serve Swindon, Chippenham and Salisbury. National Express also run a daily coach from London to Melksham and Trowbridge, and Berry's Superfast Coaches run a daily service between London (Hammersmith) and Warminster
Local buses call at or near all stations on the TransWilts, taking you to / from destinations away from the railway such as Malmesbury, Badminton, Castle Combe, Bowood, Devizes, and Wilton (where the train passes, but there's no station yet) and Stonehenge.
Southampton Airport has a direct train service to Salisbury.
Time from London
Plan your trip
Take the train from London Paddington to Swindon. Trains are frequent and take approximately 1 hour. Look up times.
Accommodation and What’s On information can be found at VisitWiltshire.
Brunel Trail and classic English Villages
From London Paddington take the train to Swindon. The journey takes approximately an hour with lots of train choices towards Bristol or South Wales. Swindon was an Anglo Saxon settlement - “Swinedun” a medieval hunting ground for wild boar - but Brunel gave it fame and population growth. At Swindon you can visit the STEAM Museum housed in the former Brunel GWR works. For retail therapy the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet is also close to the station in another part of the old GWR works.
Take the 15/20 minute train ride from Swindon to Chippenham either by TransWilts from platform 2 or a high speed train from platform 4 - a frequent service with half hourly services.
At Chippenham you can see the now unused original platform. Outside the station is the Brunel’s drawing office building and spanning the high street Brunel’s viaduct, which carries the line towards Bristol. Chippenham makes a good base to visit Castle Combe, the classic English Cotswold village often used as a film set. Take a taxi as buses are infrequent. A day spent here gives a chance for pretty walks (spot the trout in the stream by the road) and take a cream tea in a pub or the Manor House.
From Chippenham take the TransWilts service south on the line to Melksham, less than 10 minutes away.
From Melksham it is a short bus or taxi ride to Lacock National Trust village, which features in many period films. Allow at least a half day to wander in the village and enjoy the atmosphere. Visit the Abbey where William Henry Fox Talbot, the Victorian pioneer of photography, took the first negative photograph through the Abbey window and the cloisters where Harry Potter was filmed. Take a pub lunch and maybe spot the 18th century dog wheel that was used to power the roasting spit.
Continue on the train - 10 minutes to Trowbridge from Melksham.
Option 1 Kennet & Avon Canal and Bath
Change at Trowbridge. Cross the line to take a train towards Bath - a 20 minute journey. This is by far the prettiest route to Bath via Bradford on Avon and Avoncliff. Get off at Bradford on Avon to see a wool town on the river Avon and access the Kennet & Avon Canal and maybe hire a boat? Alight at Avoncliff to walk alongside the canal as it crosses the valley by aqueduct and enjoy a lunch at the 16th century pub.
Take the train onwards to Georgian Bath, where having enjoyed its many and varied sights you can return to London on the frequent high speed service to Paddington in one and a half hours.
Option 2a Stonehenge and Salisbury
Change at Trowbridge to take a connecting train from the same platform to Salisbury, or stay on the TransWilts and change at Westbury for Salisbury. Allow an hour with connections. At Westbury look left to see the famous white horse. At Salisbury take the Stonehenge Tour bus to Stonehenge, which leaves from outside the station. Entry to Stonehenge is by timed ticket, which can be booked in advance.
Stay in Salisbury to allow time to explore and visit the Cathedral and view the Magna Carta.
Return trains to London Waterloo from Salisbury operate half hourly and take one and a half hours.
Option 2b Combined Salisbury and Bath
Return from Salisbury towards Bath in just under an hour, include Option 1 visits and return via London Paddington.